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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Barrett

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

Last week, I asked constituents a very important question regarding Minnesota’s motor vehicle sales tax. Currently, by law no more than 60 percent of the funds raised from the motor vehicle sales tax can go to roads and bridges and no less than 40 percent can go to transit.

Asking if this law should be changed, here is how people responded:

61 percent supported changing the law so that all of the proceeds from the motor vehicle sales tax should be used for road and bridge repair.

An additional 32 percent of respondents thought the law should be altered so that four-fifths of the motor vehicle sales tax should be diverted to roads and bridges and only one-fifth to transit.

Only 7 percent of constituents polled opposed any change to the law. 

In summary, 93 percent of the people responding to the survey believe that this law should be changed so that more money is used for our roads and bridges. Also, if 100 percent of the motor vehicle sales tax was used for roads and bridges, we could collect up to $4 billion in the next 10 years without raising taxes. With this money, we could substantially solve our transportation funding shortage with this fairly simple change to state law.

Growing Jobs in Minnesota

This week, the Department of Employment and Economic Development released the December jobs report, showing state employers cut 5200 jobs during the month in Minnesota. While our economy is recovering from the recession, reports like this remind us that there are still things we must do to get more Minnesotans back to work.

As legislators, we can’t be standing still or be complacent with Minnesota’s employment. Jobs are a key factor in the health of our economy, and there are still too many people unemployed or underemployed.

That’s why I am excited about the first bill House Republicans introduced this session. House File 1 will help grow better paying jobs in Minnesota, and the most important part of this legislation is that it recognizes the private sector, and not government, is the answer when it comes to job growth.

HF 1 includes the creation of a New Market Tax Credit for qualified venture investments which leads to a growth in jobs. It also creates a refundable tax credit for businesses making financial investments to construct workforce housing in cities with shortages and implements a refundable income tax credit for people who receive a STEM degree and take a long-term care job where qualified employees are very much needed. 

Additionally, HF 1 also streamlines the permitting process for businesses working with government agencies including the DNR and MPCA.

I am confident that the legislature will continue to work on a number of initiatives this session that can help decrease unemployment, aid private sector growth, strengthen our economy, and grow better paying jobs in Minnesota.

Many thanks go out to you for the honor of representing Chisago County in the Minnesota House. It’s a privilege to be your state representative.




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